Kingston Drum Circle
 

Greta introduced our two speakers, Yessica Rivera Belsham and Théo Paradis aka Red Sky, from the Kingston Drum Circle. Yessica originates in Mexico, and Théo comes from the Ottawa area. Both are indigenous people.

Yessica started Brazilian drumming in 2009, and has gradually added drums from all over the world. The Kingston Drum Circle is using drumming to bring people back to their indigenous roots. Drums can be found in every part of the world, and in this context, represent the heart beat of Mother Earth. Yessica brought a drum from West Africa, and because of Thanksgiving, the two shared a song of gratitude for Mother Earth. She explained that as you feel the vibration, you can think about things that make you feel love in your heart.

She was located at the Tett Centre for a while but can now be found at the Canadian Mental Health Association headquarters. For them, so much of what the drums can do is related to mental health. All cultures have something to share, and every voice is beautiful. She has also done programs at H’Art and at Ongwanada.

Yessica now has a total of 40 drums, and is receiving requests from schools, and from Providence Care.

From questions that followed, she talked about the drum tradition in Mexico. Drums have been used in ceremony, in war, and more frequently in celebration.

It had been suggested that she submit a grant proposal to our community grants process, to obtain drum kits for schools, but decided against this idea. For her the drums must be authentic. The drums connect many natural elements. She pointed out that just on the one drum at the meeting, it involved goat skin, wood and water. She sees it as creating a connection on a deep level to Mother Earth. It’s much more than just playing with drums. Today, many indigenous people are struggling to return to the culture that was taken away, and drumming is a meaningful way to reconnect.

Heather Kembel offered thanks to Yessica and Théo, especially for the song of gratitude at this time.

 

 
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